By Space Coast Daily // October 24, 2013
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — The Healthy Start Coalition is a non-profit that provides moms, newborns and families with the resources, help and support they need to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
When Glenda Rigby found out she was pregnant she was nervous and like most moms she was a little overwhelmed with the idea that in nine short months she would be responsible for another tiny little person.
She also worried about managing all the expense given she had a retail job and her husband worked at Port Canaveral in refrigeration. These are not Wall Street jobs and having a baby is expensive.
Then Rigby’s obstetrician told about the Healthy Start Program. The goal of Healthy Start is to reduce infant mortality, reduce the number of low birth weight babies and improve health and developmental outcomes of all Florida’s babies.
While help with diapers, baby clothes and baby food was very much appreciated, Rigby said, what really made a difference was the referrals and support the family received.
“They gave us a lot of resources, helping us with food, educational baby classes and even sending out a care coordinator to help me through some anxiety and depression during my pregnancy.” Rigby said.
“They were there for me. My care coordinator, Mary, she is an amazing person. Everyone should have someone like that to guide you through your first pregnancy. I am so grateful for Healthy Start.”
St. Mary’s Catholic School is holding a diaper and clothing drive for Healthy Start during its annual Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 26. After six years, the festival organizers – parents themselves – decided to give back to the community that gives so much to the school.
“We thought it was a great idea,” said festival chair Daine Braswell.
“We are blessed to have community members come to our event and help us raise money for our school. We thought, why not pay it forward and help another group that helps children. We couldn’t think of a better organization than Healthy Start for our inaugural efforts.”
Bins will be located at the festival to collect new toys and diapers. Guests are invited to bring donations and then enjoy a fun-filled afternoon that is family friendly. From a petting zoo and life-size Angry Bird slingshot games to a costume contest and pie bake off, there are activities for children of all ages.
Cost varies per activity, but nothing is over $3.
“We’re happy to partner with St. Mary’s to help our clients,” said Jennifer Schwalb Floyd, Executive Director for Healthy Start Coalition of Brevard.
32 HEALTHY START COALITIONS THROUGHOUT THE STATE
“Every child deserves a healthy start in life and we provide many services from education and resources to counseling for the pregnant women and babies in our community that need it most..” Florida’s Healthy Start was enacted by state legislation in 1991 with the goals of reducing infant mortality, reducing the number of low birth weight babies and improving health and developmental outcomes for all Florida’s babies.
There are 32 Healthy Start Coalitions throughout the state. Rigby, who now has a seven-month old boy, said she will always be grateful to Healthy Start and that she and her husband tell people about it every chance they get.
“I think Healthy Start is amazing I truly believe in giving your baby the healthiest start,” said the Cocoa Beach resident.
“I threw away my cigarettes when I found out I was pregnant with my first child and still have not started up again. I didn’t even eat chocolate, because it has caffeine. I believe in doing what’s best for your baby and making those 9 months as healthy as possible to give them the best chance of living a healthy life for the rest of their lives.”
The festival runs from 3 to 9 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic School grounds, 1152 Seminole in Rockledge.